No. 9 Tennessee rolls over Mississippi State 72-59 in SEC

TAMPA, Fla. (AP) — Tennessee feels it has everything information technology takes to exist successful in the NCAA Tournament.

That includes unselfish players, counterbalanced scoring and a deep demote.

Josiah-Jordan James led v players in double figures with 16 points, fourteen of them during a second-one-half stretch in which the ninth-ranked Volunteers pulled away to a 72-59 victory over Mississippi State in the quarterfinals of the Southeastern Conference Tournament on Friday nighttime.

“We’re at our best when we accept that balance,” Tennessee bus Rick Barnes said. “But as well I think our guys have learned when a guy has it going, to get it to him.”

The second-seeded Volunteers (24-7) won for the 10th fourth dimension in 11 games to advance to Saturday’s semifinals against No. five Kentucky, a 77-71 winner over Vanderbilt in the concluding quarterfinal of the nighttime at Amalie Arena.

Kennedy Chandler had 11 points for Tennessee despite missing time in the beginning and second half later on suffering what appeared to be a right foot or ankle injury. He finished the game, though, making a layup for the final margin of victory.

“He didn’t say it was his ankle. He said, ‘I got kicked.’ That happens when yous’re in a flurry … underneath the basket,” Barnes said.

James and Chandler were joined in double figures by Zakai Zeigler (11), Brandon Huntley-Hatfield (x) and Santiago Vescovi (10) for the Vols, who led 39-37 at halftime. Zakai and Chandler combined for xiv assists with just one turnover.

“Our mentality throughout the year is always next man upwards considering you never know what’due south going to happen,” James said. “Nosotros’re thankful Kennedy is doing well and that he is ok, but we had faith in whoever was going to come up in.”

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Shakeel Moore led Mississippi Country (18-xv) with 15 points. Tolu Smith had 14 and Iverson Molina, the SEC’s 3rd-leading scorer, finished with x points — but but one in the 2d half when he was 0-for-6 shooting.

The 10th-seeded Bulldogs advanced to the quarterfinals with a 73-51 tournament-opening victory over South Carolina. They lost to Tennessee at dwelling past xix in early on February and kept Friday’south game close until James led a surge that helped the Vols open a double-digit pb early on in the second half.

“I thought that we got tired. … In the second half you could encounter that some of the guys playing a lot of minutes were really getting worn because when yous play back-to-back nights information technology’s but hard,” Mississippi State jitney Ben Howland said. “When you’re playing against a team — i of the top ten teams in the country and is fresh, didn’t play yesterday — that’s the advantage of the double bye.”

James made his commencement five shots after halftime, four of them of 3-pointers. By the time Chandler returned to the bench subsequently receiving attending for his injury a 2nd fourth dimension, Tennessee was up xiii and in complete control without the freshman guard.

Vescovi’s 3-arrow hiked Tennessee’s lead to 68-54 and the closest Mississippi State got over the terminal five minutes was eleven.

“Credit Tennessee, I think they have a very good squad,” Howland said. “I would not be surprised if they go deep into this NCAA Tournament.”

BIG Film

Mississippi State: The Bulldogs missed 11 of 17 3-pointers and led only once — scoring the showtime basket of the game.

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Tennessee: The Vols shot 50%, including viii of 19 on iii-point attempts. They finished with 21 assists on 29 baskets.

“When we’re moving the brawl and we have player motility, ball movement, that’s when we play our best basketball game,” Barnes said.


Mississippi State: Likely a NIT bid. “We absolutely want to play if we’re invited,” Howland said.

Tennessee: Faces Kentucky in the semifinals. The teams split a pair of regular season meetings, with each winning at home.


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